I today, visited Goxhill, a small village in North Lincolnshire in England. A lovely, quiet little village just off the humber with the humber bridge in site. Goxhill may be small, however it does hold one piece of history very close to its chest, and that is the mostly unheard of - RAF Goxhill.
Royal Air Force Goxhill or more simply RAF Goxhill is a former Royal Air Force station located east of Goxhill, on the south bank of the Humber estuary, opposite the city of Kingston upon Hull, in north Lincolnshire, England.
During the First World War a Royal Flying Corps landing ground existed near the Lincolnshire village of Goxhill. In 1940 the Air Ministry returned to survey the land once again for its suitability as an airfield.
Goxhill was originally used as a barrage balloon site to protect the port of Hull and the River Humber. In 1940, Goxhill was transferred to RAF Bomber Command and was planned and rebuilt as a bomber airfield. The base was equipped with three intersecting runways, the main runway at 1600 yards and two secondary runways of 1100 yards. Three hangars were built - two T-2’s, one J-Type and four blisters and fifty aircraft hardstands. Temporary accommodation was provided for 1700+ personnel.
Its location, however, was too close to the air defences of Hull to be used for that purpose. Its first occupant was No. 1 Group that took up residence on 26 June 1941. The mission of No. 1 Group was towing practice targets with Westland Lysanders, its first operation beginning on 25 October.
In December 1941, RAF Fighter Command replaced the Bomber Command training unit with No. 12 Group, flying Supermarine Spitfires from No. 616 Squadron at RAF Kirton in Lindsey. Fighter Command operated the base until May 1942.
USAF Took over RAF Goxhill in August 1942
The airfield was relegated to satellite field use by RAF Kirmington until August 1942, when it was taken over by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The transfer ceremony was attended by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. During the Second World War it was known as USAAF Station 345.
The facilities at Goxhill, however, had a lot to be desired. Three wooden barracks were supplemented by a number of metal fabricated buildings (aka: tin cans) for living quarters. Typical of the temporary RAF station of that period, living quarters and mess facilities were 1 – 2 miles from the hangars and flight operations area because of safety.
The station was unofficially known by the USAAF units based here as “GoatHill”. The USAAF used Goxhill as a training airfield though the balance of the war, with several squadrons using it after their initial deployment to the UK, then moving on to a permanent facility for their operational missions.
USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Goxhill were:
333d Service Group
332d Service Squadron’; HHS 333d Service Group
13th Station Complement Squadron
18th Weather Squadron
2nd Gunnery & Tow Target Flight
1004th Signal Company
1148th Quartermaster Company
1275th Military Police Company
1771st Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
2130th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
20 July 1942 of P-38 Lightnings, including (serial number 41-7631) of the 1st Fighter Group at Goxhill.
Sergeant Elwin D. Phillips, Lieutenant Sidney Hewitt, Staff Sergeant Michael Yahawk and a colleague, of the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group stand with Hewitt’s P-47 Thunderbolt (QI-F, serial number 42-74702) nicknamed “Clarkie” at Goxhill, 1943.
A P-51B Mustang of the 354th Fighter Group at Goxhill, 1944.
A Spitfire Mk. Va (C7-M, serial number W3815) of the 555th Fighter Training Squadron, 496th Fighter Training Group at Goxhill, 1944.
Both the USAAF 8th and 9th Air Force utilized Goxhill.
But what now?
On 20 January 1945, the USAAF returned Goxhill to RAF control, and it was assigned as a satellite to RAF Kirton In Lindsey.
Not much remains of RAF Goxhill. Closed in 1962, and handed to farmers for agricultural work
Now at the former site of RAF Goxhill, Not much stands in the place of the former airfield, other than a memorial and an information plaque. The once active runways are now long fields, with only the silhouette of its former glory seen from above. Oh and of course a guard gate bunker!
Now this is not just an information post, its a little bit more…
Next to the Memorial stone and the information board, there was a new little piece of history added into the mix. Now I have visited this site many a time, during my upbringing, but till today I haven’t ever noticed this…
This sign, explains, of how in its prime, RAF Goxhill had a control tower. Yet, unlike the rest of the base, the tower wasn’t demolished, or damaged during the areal bombardment of the war. This Control tower, now lives, in Virginia, USA.
Now I have not been fortunate to visit the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia, USA. But have you? - I would love to be able to come back, and share with the villagers a photo of where their control tower is now. Not just a google stock image, but a photo with a story.
Goxhill, is a wonderful little village, nothing special, but it has a history. I hope that this post, opens your eyes, as it has me, to how each little area of our little country, played its part in our freedom and helped to paint the picture of past time military aviation both here and across the pound.
I Hope you have enjoyed, this post, and please feel free to PM or comment any questions.
Video Credits: Richard Lawson and ‘Watchers of the Planes’ respectively.
’Lest we forget’